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Bondera Tile Mat Set: Does It Really Work?

So we get asked a lot… is Bondera really as good as they say?

Long Story Short

 Yes.

Short Story Long(-er)

Bondera backsplash: One year later.

Bondera backsplash: as good as they say.

I’ve heard remarks at tradeshows, listened to contractors talking about it, and even seen posts in an on-line forum questioning whether Bondera Tile Mat Set works and why traditional methods for adhereing tile “should” be better. Most of those skeptics start their argument (it’s true) with the fact that they have never used Bondera, yet all seem to have a strong out-of-the-gate opinion.

Well, we’ve used it. We’ve lived with it for over a year and we can tell you: Bondera’s not kidding. It has worked for us from install through every day use.

Wall and Tile Adhesion

Most people hit the skepticism roadblock at adhesion: does it stick to the wall and does the tile stick to the Bondera? And will it remain stuck? All good questions.

For us and our backsplash, the answer on all counts is a resounding yes. Since Bondera is “pressure sensitive” we made sure we pressed on it to make a strong connection. We found the technique that worked the best and was the easiest was to “wipe it down” or what we call “burnish” it using a 6 inch drywall taping knife.

As for the tile itself, we used a highly irregular tile. It’s a stone actually, Stratstones, and the backs of these tiles are flat-ish but not evenly flat. Again, we wiped the tile into the Bondera (this time with a sponge float) and the tile has not fluctuated a millimeter. There are no loose tiles and no grout cracks—awesome. And, not that we need it too much in this application, but Bondera is highly water resistant, making it ideal for really wet service like a shower surround.

What’s more, during installation, we had no mortar squeeze-through as is often the case in setting smaller tiles in thinset. This alone saved half a day of wiping and toothbrushing mortar out of the tile gaps that always seems to manage a way out from behind the tile. Then, it was same-day grout, next day seal and good to go.

Long Story Short, Again

Bondera saved us time during the install and helped us deliver a fault-free finished product. It works.

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Comments

  1. I trust that Bondera will stick. What I am worried about is if you can get it back off without damage to the wall (in my case drywall) underneathe. I am in a rental and looking for temporary backsplash fixes. Thank you!

    Alex

  2. Russ Felder says:

    It will pull the first layer of drywall off. also you must put the tile on soon after you put up the bondera or it will start to fail, also you have to grout as soon as you can or it will fail. in other words, you need to complete the whole tile job for it to work well. at least that was my experience…

  3. Alex, Bondera is intended to permanently bond to the substrate. It’s pressure-sensitive so you can place it on certain items (plywood, laminate) and peel it back up to readjust it as needed. Once you press on it, that’s it though: The glue sticks. On drywall, it’ll be less forgiving, just as if you stuck duct tape on it.

    As for ‘open’ time as Russ describes, we didn’t leave it un-tiled or un-grouted so we can’t speak to it. It does have a liner and it lives in the package that way so I don’t think you need to race to get the tile installed but I’d follow Russ’s experience and work when you have time to do the entire project (like over a weekend). Only remove liner you know you can cover with tile if it’s a large project.

    Hope this adds to the conversation.

  4. I currently have mar lite on the wall where I want to put a tile backsplash. Do I need to remove the marmite first

  5. MyFixitUpLife says:

    Hi Anna–

    Bondera sticks to slick surfaces, like laminate, according to Bondera. If the Marlite is well adhered to the wall, it seems reasonable you can go over it with Bondera. You can always do a test to see if it sticks with a small piece. Always better to be safe than sorry–

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